Kobe Bryant Honored LeBron James in Final Social Media Post Before He Was Killed in Crash
Bryant, 41, was the third-leading scorer in NBA history with 33,643 points — but that all changed during James’ game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.
James, 35, paid tribute to the Los Angeles Lakers legend with special Nike shoes during the game when he surpassed Bryant’s record. Bryant thus became the forth-leading scorer in the NBA at the time of his death.
On Saturday evening, Bryant congratulated James on his latest milestone in what would be his final Twitter and Instagram posts. “On to #2 @kingjames! Keep growing the game and charting the path for the next,” the retired star shared on Instagram.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother ?? #33644,” Bryant tweeted.
Bryant, who sat courtside during a handful of Lakers games this season, praised James for coming to Los Angeles and giving the franchise a chance to potentially win its 17th championship.
“When LeBron came to Los Angeles, he is now a Laker, he is part of our brotherhood, part of our fraternity, and we should embrace him that way,” Bryant, 41, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “You got to celebrate… appreciate what he is as an athlete while he is here. Appreciate this guy, celebrate what he’s done because it’s truly remarkable.”
Bryant died on Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, a source confirmed to PEOPLE.
Emergency personnel responded but none of the nine people onboard survived, a spokesperson for the LA county sheriff’s office said during a press conference.
Spokespersons for Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office and LAPD did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months. Their daughter Gianna, 13, was also killed in the plane crash along with her father.